Denise Kirkland


Professional Position: ESL Instructor and Intake Specialist
Location: Raleigh, NC

Denise Kirkland became involved with The ALS Association North Carolina Chapter in 2008 when a dear family friend was diagnosed with ALS. Almost daily, Denise supported and helped her friend Rex, and his wife and caregiver Bonnie, throughout Rex’s 4-year journey with ALS. It was during her visits with Rex and Bonnie when she learned about the positive impact that the North Carolina Chapter was making in their lives. She joined their Walk team, Sexy Rexy’s Racers, and with her compassion, energy and charisma, she began organizing ALS events to not only raise money for the Walk team, but to also bring awareness to the community about this devastating disease.

In 2013, Denise was asked to join the board of directors of the North Carolina Chapter. As a board member, Denise has served as the Chapter board’s secretary and governance chair simultaneously, treasurer and Finance Committee chair simultaneously, and vice chair of the board. She currently serves as the chair of the board of directors and co-chair of the Triangle Walk Committee. She is also serving a third year as the Chapter’s BOR representative.

On the National level, Denise’s volunteer service includes 2019- 2020 Chapter Relations Committee member, 2020-2021 Chapter Relations Committee vice chair, and 2021-present National Governance Committee member.

Prior to volunteering for The ALS Association, Denise served as a parent volunteer in the Wake County public school system for fourteen years. During seven of those years as a volunteer, Denise also worked as support staff at North Ridge Elementary School. Some examples of her volunteer service include North Ridge Elementary School PTA president, West Millbrook Middle School PTA Character Education Program chair, Millbrook High School PTA president, and Millbrook High Athletic Booster Club treasurer. She also mentored in the Millbrook High program for at-risk teens and volunteered as a surrogate parent at IEP meetings for Millbrook High students in the foster care system. In 2010, Denise was recognized as one of Wake County public school system's Most Outstanding Volunteers.

Denise graduated from Wake Forest University with a BS in biology. While attending WFU, she also studied at the University of Salamanca, Spain. In 2011, she earned an English Second Language Instructor certification at Wake Technical Community College. She currently works part time at Wake Tech as an ESL Instructor and an ESL intake specialist. Denise and her husband, Jim, have two adult children, (a son and a daughter - both happily married), a precious 11-month-old grandson and a sweet 2-year-old black lab. In her free time, Denise enjoys spending time with her family, especially when they are boating or sailing or just playing outside. She also enjoys practicing yoga and learning German.